By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT Candidate
I subscribe to Sports Illustrated and love to see news and candid photos of great athletic feats. But just two days ago the latest version of the Swimsuit Edition was released to newsstands. The cover depicts a young woman pulling down her suit as she poses, revealing a bit more than usual. It has many people outraged, including many clients who come to our counseling center in Mesa Arizona suffering with sexual addiction. I myself will be tossing this issue into the garbage.
Is it really a problem? Some will say that we are making a big deal about nothing. But as a professional counselor who provides treatment for sexual addiction in Mesa Arizona, I have some very serious worries.
One of my primary concerns: The magazine is “Grooming” or desensitizing men and youth toward increasingly sexual behavior. In other words, Sports Illustrated is slowly exposing men to images that are just barely legal, in small enough doses, which over time move them closer and closer to complete acceptance of pornography. If this young lady on the cover were exposing herself in real life, we would say she is provocatively teasing someone for sexual favors. Why else does a young woman expose herself in such a manner? This slow desensitization is creating changes in our society’s perceptions of sexuality, by influencing as many men and youth as possible.
The image is intended to lead a man’s mind toward sexual imagery. We frequently tell the men and youth in our sexual addiction program to avoid triggers that send them into addictive cycles. We teach them to avoid situations that provoke the addictive response. However, this magazine cover exposes an image that almost instantly provides a chemical rush. It will be out for public consumption to both adult and youth audiences, since it flies under the radar avoiding the category of ‘pornography.’
Many young minds have been influenced by similar imagery. It creates a gallery of images within their brain that men and youth may never have visualized by themselves. This is always a concern about pornography. This current swimsuit edition makes soft pornography easily accessible and acceptable within our society. It’s slowly producing an increasingly sexualized culture. It encourages a sexual mindset from a young age. Boys increasingly believe that they should be chasing girls and engaging sexual activity. Girls increasingly believe that they should be dressing immodestly and that boys simply want sexual activity. The general culture increasingly believes the stereotype about men and boys simply wanting sex. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition simply encourages this hazardous cultural mindset. Sports Illustrated is encouraging sexual addiction in Mesa Arizona where I work and live.
Some would say, “I’d love to have a sexual addiction!” This is a bizarre and uneducated response. When clients struggling with sexual addiction come into our programs, they depict stories of broken lives. Marriages have been lost. Relationships have been traumatized. Children have been wounded. Employment has been terminated. Finances have gone bankrupt. Spirituality has been depleted. Self-esteem has been eroded. Sex addicts are emotionally broken up over the cycles that have disrupted so many areas of their lives.
Call us if you need to consult with someone about sexual addiction. We are professionals and run counseling programs for husbands, wives and youth who are struggling with sexual addiction in Mesa Arizona. We can help: (480) 668-8301.